After spending the past 7 months interacting with artists in every genre from EDM to Country, the most quoted phrase regarding Spotify has been “Spotify is a great discovery tool.” A great discovery tool…. This mindset has never quite made sense to me. This is like the Mexican restaurant that serves chips and salsa prior to the meal. Do you think the restaurant owner would ever be satisfied serving up a heaping plate of chips and salsa for free while the customer walks out the door satisfied from a complimentary product?
Artist managers and independent artists need to learn that Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and the like are not discovery tools. They are the bowl of chips and salsa that lure people into a combination plate of tickets, merchandise, and exclusive content. The ability to stream for free is the hook. It is the appetizer. It holds the consumer over. It seals the deal.
It is unfortunate that Spotify has been around in the United States for over a year, yet artists have not found a way to convert attention into dollars. We live in an era of ever shortening attention spans. Fans must be captured in the “honeymoon phase” or else they will fall into the valley of death, never to be heard from again. Going forward, the most successful artists will be the ones that are able to hold attention. Artists must employ strategies to mitigate the decline in interest caused in large part by album release cycles. The world is waiting on a platform that uses listener interest to capture fans. The chips and salsa are there, now the music world just needs to figure out how to serve up the combination plate to the hungriest fans.